Little House is looking for big buyer

Popular restaurant is on the market.

Little House Cafe in Vineyard Haven is for sale.

Little House Café, the popular eatery on State Road in Vineyard Haven, is for sale for $1.5 million

“Well, you know, it took a long time to come to this decision,” said Jenik Khelalfa, who co-owns the restaurant with Merrick Carreiro. “We feel proud of what we’ve done. We’ve given it our all, and are looking forward to putting our energy into other things — our families being first and foremost.”

Khelalfa and Carreiro started Little House in 2010 with their families. In time, they became the mainstays of the 12-employee restaurant with its intimate dining area that seats 32 people. The restaurant also offers takeout coffee (really good coffee), baked goods, and other things off the menu.

Fans of the restaurant are obviously going to be disappointed, but Khelalfa is hopeful that the new owner or owners will build on the name and reputation that’s been established. “It’s a good business model,” she said. “After a while, we’ve gotten tired, and don’t have as many new ideas. We can only hope they’ll keep a lot of it the same and add some of their ideas.”

Every time Little House tried to change up the menu, it would get pushback from customers. “The thing people say they like about Little House is the consistency,” Khelalfa said.

What’s next for Khelalfa or Carreiro? That’s an unanswered question, because for now they’ll be keeping the year-round restaurant open and operating.

“It’s hard to make plans, because we don’t know how long this will take,” she said. “We just want to start the process because it feels like it will be a process.”

For now, they’re feeling positive about the decision to put it on the market.

“It’s bittersweet,” Khelalfa said. “A community has been created with customers and employees. We’re going to miss them.”